Are you of the 96% of businesses in a recent survey focusing 7on undertaking EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) training over the next 12 month?
If you aren’t, then should you be considering it – lest we forget the unfortunate case of Allay (UK) Limited v Gehlen! Their equality and diversity training was considered ‘stale’ by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and was no defence to a discrimination claim.
If you are considering training (and we would strongly advise you do on a regular basis) then it may be worth addressing the following questions:
Is your training practical enough?
An overview of the law in any training is important – the Equality Act 2010 contains vital definitions of discrimination. To use a weak-ish analogy, it’s the coat hanger upon which we hang EDI in the workplace. That said, it should never be the starting and ending point of any training. Principles need to be translated to practice within your organisation. For example, when discussing indirect discrimination with managers responsible for setting rotas, you may want to address how these rotas could indirectly discriminate against certain groups within your staff. Or, when looking at the definition of harassment, some discussion as to what a hostile environment might look like if you were a different gender, ethnicity or sexuality is crucial. Our training sessions provide opportunities for both these aspects; a comprehensive but plain English overview of the law coupled with sector-specific, relevant case studies to discuss.
Is your training creating a new culture?
Continuing our wardrobe analogy, if the Equality Act 2010 is the coat hanger for EDI, then the culture you create is the coat which hangs off that hanger. The Equality Act 2010 gives it shape but the key is creating the culture which permeates throughout the organisation. EDI training is a crucial part of this cultural setting. A culture which seeks to make the workplace a safe place to work and thrive regardless of gender/race/sexuality/faith or beliefs needs to understand, for example, that micro-aggressions and unconscious bias and invisible barriers are contrary to that culture. Only with training – carried out professionally and creating a space for staff to discuss issues and questions – can this be achieved. In our world where thanks to tireless algorithms, we are increasingly reading articles/blogs/posts which share our opinions and mindsets, there is a vital need for staff to learn how to work alongside and respect others who may have very different viewpoints and opinions. This last point is a key part of and a key challenge to our workplaces in the 2020s. We can provide advice on how best to address culture within your workplace; what training is appropriate, how you should start and how to continue the process once the training is finished.
What’s the E in your EDI?
If ‘diversity is being invited to the party [and] inclusion is being asked to dance’ the E has undergone something of a conversion in the last couple of years. Traditionally it was equality that completed this trio. Equality seeks to provide the same opportunities and treatment to all regardless of their background, resources etc. Equity looks at the situation slightly differently. Offering everyone the same opportunities is undoubtedly good and laudable, but it will not necessarily have an equal effect. Background, resources and opportunities will affect the outcome even if everyone is offered the same opportunity. We already address this issue by making reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities, but equity seeks to broaden this. A key area for this is social mobility; a promotion structure open to all may provide equal opportunities for all. However, a member of staff who cannot afford a laptop at home to work on their application is the first to reach for management responsibilities in their family and friends and so has no one to discuss it with or rehearse their pitch with is not going to have the same opportunity as a more privileged colleague. We have created a social mobility toolkit to address some of these issues within the workplace. Please register for your free copy here.
How can we help?
We have a full suite of training materials for EDI – whatever your E stands for. These range from basic introductory hourly sessions to full-day training complete with case studies and discussion times. We can offer more bespoke courses where there is a particular need or area which needs additional work and we ensure all training is sector-specific, excludes overly legal language and looks to provide both the coat hanger and the coat!
For more information
For more information on how to ensure that your EDI training does not go stale, please contact Anna Dabek.
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